How can I tell if an elderly loved one is having memory trouble?

Determining if a loved one is having memory problems can be a very difficult task. Often times they are able to cover up their memory deficits, which can make it very difficult for family members to recognize. One sign that may indicate a loved one is having trouble with memory includes forgetting appointments. They may forget where they were driving, even in neighborhoods that are very familiar to them. Often times, they may forget the date, or forget to make payments on bills. In more severe cases, they may begin to make poor decisions or have difficulty with language.
Shelley Webb
As people age, there is a possibility that they may have a degree of memory loss to the point that they may tell you the same stories several times. When the stories are repeated several times in one day, that is a problem.

Talk to your loved one about specific people in the family who are not her children. Does she remember them? Does she seem confused as to whom you are referring to? Ask her about a situation that she would normally recall. If she looks at you quizzically, that may be sign for concern.

Has your parent had any automobile accidents lately? Should he be driving? Do not wait until there has been an accident to talk with him about having a driving assessment.

Early dementia sufferers are especially prone to fears of socialization. Has your parent been skipping church lately or avoiding other social situations with excuses of being tired or having “other plans”?

Remember, though, that people with dementia become pretty adept at covering up for their deficiencies and that spouses will often come to their rescue with the answers. You might want to ask the same questions later in the day or when the spouse is not present to see if you receive a different answer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.